Cobb commission District 2 candidates post finance reports

Cobb Commission District 2 race
Fitz Johnson, left, edged out Andy Smith, his runoff opponent, in a 3-way GOP primary in June.

Fitz Johnson was one of three primary candidates seeking the Republican nomination in the District 2 Cobb Board of Commissioners race, and the only one who didn’t take out personal loans to finance his campaign.

Johnson, a retired Army officer and businessman from Vinings, finished first with 6,656 votes, or 36.2 percent, in the June primary.

In the Aug. 11 runoff, he’ll be facing East Cobb resident Andy Smith, a former Cobb Planning Commissioner and owner of a design and construction firm, who got 5,946 votes, or 32.2 percent.

Johnson has raised $83,700 to date in 2020, including $20,475 in the second quarter. Smith has raised $66,205 overall and $23,210 in the second quarter, with $18,960 coming in the form of two loans he made to his campaign.

That’s according to second-quarter campaign finance reports filed with the Cobb Board of Registrations and Elections.

In November, the winner of the Johnson-Smith runoff will face Democrat Jerica Richardson in the general election to determine the successor to retiring Commissioner Bob Ott.

Smith previously loaned himself $31,000 in three other loans he’s reported in earlier reports.

(You can look through those and other local candidates by clicking here.)

In the second quarter, Johnson spent $42,000 and has campaign expenses of $67,151 for the year.

Smith spent $21,491 in the second quarter and $46,664 overall, according to campaign finance reports.

Smith reported more cash-on-hand as the runoff campaign began, with $19,540, compared to $16,548 for Johnson.

Johnson has received funding from prominent members of the Cobb business and civic community.

They include $2,800 from William Cooper, director of cardiovascular surgery at WellStar Health System, where Johnson serves on the board of trustees.

Other WellStar executives and physicians contributing to Johnson’s runoff campaign include John Brennan ($1,000), Rob Schreiner ($1,000), Leo Reichert ($500) and David Jones ($500).

Another $2,800 contribution is from Todd Thrasher, a managing partner at the East Cobb-based Brooks Chadwick, a development firm.

Contributions of $1,500 each include Joseph Astrachan, professor emeritus at Kennesaw State University and former head of its Cox Family Enterprise Center at the Coles College of Business; and Fuqua Development.

Other contributors include James Rhoden, founder of East Cobb-based Futren Corp., which operates Indian Hills County Club ($1,000); former Cobb Chamber of Commerce president Gary Bottoms ($500); and former Cobb Commission Chairman Sam Olens, with two donations of $100 each.

In Johnson’s second-quarter report, he lists expenses totaling $33,374 to Arena Mail and Digital of Salt Lake City for the production and mailing of campaign fliers, $3,500 to Strategic Partners & Media LLC, for campaign consulting services, and $2,000 for Google, Facebook and other digital ads.

Smith has received smaller individual contributions in his second-quarter report. In a filing in April, he reported several $2,700 contributions from businesses and corporate executives, including Nicholas Telesca, president of Branch Properties, an Atlanta real estate investment firm.

Smith’s major expenses include $13,594 to Data Productions of Suwanee for campaign mailers. Another $5,000 was paid to The Lowry Group of Austell, a political consulting firm run by Riley Lowry, a longtime advisor to Ott, who has not endorsed a candidate.

Kevin Nicholas, a member of the Development Authority of Cobb County who finished third in the primary, received 5,770 votes, or 31.4 percent.

His last campaign finance report was filed on April 30, showing $24,750 in overall contributions and $17,134 in expenses. He loaned himself $20,000 during that period, and his contributors included former U.S. Rep. Bob Barr ($500).

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